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A little over two years ago, I was the target of three strangers whose attack on me started as a barrage of contradictory insults and “compliments” and soon led to rape. The men initially noticed me because I was wearing a shirt that identified me as gay. Coming from a radically conservative town where almost everyone knew me, especially after I came out, I rarely experienced street harassment from people who I didn’t know. This experience was a first for me on many fronts and has scarred me from all directions and in all aspects of my life. From then on, any time anyone made a comment about me in the halls of my high school or while I was walking around town, I felt utterly powerless and would often have flashbacks. I came upon the Holla Back New York blog a while ago and was inspired by the tools the site offered for ending street harassment. After attending a workshop on how to holla back this year, I’ve been considering starting a Holla Back site for the area surrounding my college. This journey has not been without obstacles, however.
The idea of me starting a Holla Back blog by myself is something that scares me. During high school, I was active in efforts to end harassment of LGBTQ youth and was often the target of a great deal of hate. Having moved from my small conservative hometown to college in a really liberal area, I feel that I’ve just recently become a less visible target and am not willing to risk that sense of comfort. To split the weight of my decision to Holla Back, I began searching for a partner. This search, thus far, has turned out empty. The friends I have talked to about partnering with me for a project like this have found the idea of a Holla Back blog to be problematic for differing reasons which I don’t necessarily agree with but don’t want to repeat here because I think I would express their opinions differently than they would.
I guess the point of my writing this post is sort of the old “there’s power in numbers” speech. When fear is shared, it’s lessened. When we are there for each other, start projects together, march side by side, we feel stronger and can do more. I don’t feel that those I asked to help me were wrong in choosing not to, but I think that if someone in your community is trying to start something and you think it’s a good idea, join them. The more of us holla back, the louder we are, which would be nice because I’m tired of all this silence.
First of all, Feminuity drew our attention to VOCES: A Zine by the Voices Against Violence Project.
Jos Truitt discusses the need for “trans lives to come deliberately into focus” through storytelling. Gender-based harassment in public places can be about policing gender performance as well as the objectification of female bodies and a culture that is tolerant of violence against women. If you experience street harassment as a trans man or woman, Hollaback! and share your story here.
Feministing informs us that even after the big scandal in L.A. last year, 80% of rape kits STILL go untested in Illinois. It is extremely depressing but you can take action – read about new legislation (and who to start calling) at the link.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the limits of the first street harassment videogame as an empowering tool for women, but this author thinks ‘Hey Baby’ could be used to educate men through empathy-building.
Finally, an interview with the always lovely Holly Kearl, author of ‘Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Spaces Safe and Welcoming for Women.’
Also, we had an amazing time at our recent launch party, thanks to Carmen at Where is Your Line? for the shout-out and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!
This poem was read at our launch party by the incredibly talented Camille Theobald. This is the first ever poem written about Hollaback!
I rise ready for a morning run, man I love to feel that sun
Hear the birds out “tweet tweet”, and the light landing of my feet
Till a noise shatters the silence, with verbal violence.
A sound that unleashes hate inside, the part of me I try to hide.
But I can’t help but hear this man’s foul words in my ear.
“Hey Girl you got a fine ass.” He may think it’s a compliment but in reality it’s crass
I keep going to avoid any more, but he still thinks he’s gonna score
“What sexy you afraid of me? Ah so that’s how its gonna be”
Yeah, that’s how its gonna be! What did you think I’de do?
“Oh daddy yeah, take me home with you”
This is the real world not your sick fantasy, you need to come back to reality
Your not a rapper in some sick music video, surrounded by money, cars and hoes
You’re a just a skinny ass white boy still wearing JNCOs
And even if you were hot it wouldn’t make a difference, not when you’re coming at me such ignorance.
It’s not like I’ve never heard it before but this time I’m slamming the door
Its not enough to “ignore it and keep walking”, that never stops these perverts from talking.
Who knows if he will stop at words with his foul thoughts, for words lead to actions and physical assault.
So now it’s time to take action against street talking harassment.
People unite to keep clear of these fools these dogs that think they can bend the rules.
Blog your experience text your pics we no longer have to put up with these pricks.
This incredibly powerful poem was read at our launch party on Thursday by Dailyn. At 20 years old, she’s smart, she’s fierce, and she’s an inspiration to us all.
I am Ani Difranco
I am beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cuz someday you’ll find you are starving
and eat all of the words you just said…
The other day I was walking the street in Manhattan when suddenly…
“What’s good Mami, damn you ass fine as hell, let me talk to you fo’ a minute”
…I’d really like to know the success ratings on that line.
So I turned around to the prick and said,
ok, you would like to have a conversation, shall we?”Let’s talk about how you feel about Obama recently stating that Republicans are to blame for the immigration delay –”
…we had a nice little conversation.
I wonder how many girls have fallen for that line and settled with guys just because he was interested in how beautiful or hot they are.
It makes me question, do women and girls know their worth?
Do you know your worth?
your smile, your laughter, your eyes, your opinions, emotions, they MATTER. Your voice matters. You are not your lips and your thighs. You are your mind
I just wish more people took what I’m saying seriously
I wish people could see who I truly am underneath.
That I’m more of a man that they’ll ever be…
and sometimes I forget to brush my teeth…
that I fucking love cursing…
and I hate shaving my legs…
that everyday I’m away from my grandmother I ache the distance…
and sometimes when I’m bored ill do impressions of novelas in my mirror…
and I think there’s no point in talking to yourself if you don’t respond…
I feel like a homeless person always asking the world for change
but I know my worth with every step I take.
We have a FANTASTIC op-ed in the Daily News right now that discusses out soon-to-be-released iPhone app!!
We are always concerned that misdemeanor crimes on the streets and subway are not taken seriously when they have such an enormous impact on the women and LGBTQ folks who experience them, but in this extremely disturbing piece of news, the Village Voice reveals that more serious forms of violence against women are being systemically downgraded to less serious charges in NYC.
Interview with the maker of the fantastic short film ‘Walking Home.’ This film is a poignant look at street harassment that has been featured on our site previously.
In a blog on Gender and Public policy, one blogger compares street harassment to being bombarded with ping pong balls whenever you walk down the street. Hilarious, apt, and it makes me want to carry around ping pong balls to throw back, although, tragically, hand-eye coordination isn’t really my thing…
Street harassment is sometimes an eco-feminist issue. This blogger in Miami notes that the threat of harassment keeps women in their cars rather than on bikes or public transport.
Thank you to the Gay Brooklyn Tip Sheet for including our party in your July calendar!
And FINALLY, OUR LAUNCH PARTY IS TODAY @ 125 5TH AVE IN BROOKLYN – COME CELEBRATE WITH US!!!!!!
In this week of “Naked in a Fishbowl” the improv group of ladies saw a man touching himself on the F train to Coney Island and Hollaback’ed! The improv show plays every Monday night at the SoHo Playhouse Off-Broadway, check ‘em out!
As we are always saying over here at Hollaback!, SEXUAL VIOLENCE ISN’T CULTURAL. We hear this one ALL the time, which of course forces us to collectively roll our eyes and sigh dramatically.
The anecdotal evidence that we collect on this blog shows that in NYC all kinds of men harass women and all kinds of women experience harassment. This fantastic New York Times op-ed discusses sexual violence in Congo and argues that dismissing it as cultural is demeaning and counter-productive.
While we are still working to collect accurate statistics about street harassment here in the States, this study conducted in the Netherlands states that 59% of sexual harassment incidents last year occurred in public spaces. No surprises there…
Ms. Magazine follows up with further coverage of “eve-teasers” in India and Bangladesh.
Blogger Kimberly McLeod discusses catcalling, suggests a few responses, and even gives a shout-out to Hollaback!
Finally, this is the LAST DAY TO VOTE for Hollaback! in the Revelation to Action Competition. Let’s make this happen everyone!!!
And of course we are counting down the days until our LAUNCH PARTY on July 8! See you there!
With only ten days left on our trusty pepto-bismol pink website, we’ve got two very exciting announcements.
First, 16 edits, 8 months, 356 donors later, we just submitted our iPhone application to Apple yesterday! Fingers crossed.
Second, the wonderful ladies at cozy wallet will be sponsoring our launch party! Cozy Wallet (cozywallet.com) is a gateway free stuff, discounts and giveways. Check out their website at cozywallet.com. See the event details here.
Our launch party is coming – which means the new site and iPhone app are too! Will you be there to see it all begin?
Only a little over ONE WEEK TO GO to get your VOTE in for our Changemaker’s “Action to Revelation” competition! This isn’t like the 2000 election: your vote matters here. The three groups that get the most votes win $5,000 and will be honored in front of over 200 people!
In my favorite response to ‘eve-teasing’ so far, Indian women learn how to use a dupatta, a traditional scarf that denotes modesty, for self-defense!
Mobile technology and web 2.0 media are powerful tools for social change, and they are becoming increasingly accessible. Egyptian women use ‘citizen media’ to highlight the problem of street harassment and my favorite blogger at the Economist discusses the increasing ubiquity of cell phones, even in impoverished areas.
A disproportionate number of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. LGBTQ folks already often experience harassment and violence in public spaces, and of course the risks are much greater when you are unable to retreat from those spaces.
In this shout-out to Hollaback! NYC and Hollaback! DC, Emily Hauser reminds us that street harassment is part of a continuum of violence against women and that so-called “compliments” can still be used to express dominance.
Hollaback! has been announced as a finalist in the online competition, Revelation to Action: Your Place. Your Idea. Your Change., sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee® and Ashoka’s Changemakers. The Revelation to Action competition seeks to find and help fund creative solutions for motivating local citizens to strengthen communities across New England and New York. To win, Hollaback! needs your vote: http://www.changemakers.com/en-us/node/73172.
Hollaback! is an international movement to end street harassment using mobile technology. According to Hollaback! executive director Emily May, “Street harassment is a gateway crime. It is one of the most pervasive forms of violence against women, and one of the least legislated against. On behalf of women across the world, we are honored to be a finialist.”
Hollaback! is one of 15 finalists out of 358 entrants across the Northeast for its innovation, social impact, and sustainability. Through the use of mobile technology, Hollaback! will provide women and girl with a real-time, empowered response to harassment. Each Hollaback! will be mapped, showing exactly when and where harassment happens. Hollaback! currently has eight sites across the globe: New York, DC, Chicago, Savannah, Charleston, London, Hong Kong, and Toronto.
You can vote for Hollaback! and learn more about their work by visiting www.Changemakers.com/Revelation. The deadline to vote is June 30th.
1. Please sign in or register: go to www.Changemakers.com, create a profile and complete the registration. Your email will need to be verified to help prevent voter fraud.
2. Go to the Revelation to Action competition: (http://www.Changemakers.com/Revelation)
3. Scroll down and you will see a list of entries with vote buttons – you can read short descriptions about the projects by clicking “Preview” next to the titles
4. Choose Hollaback! as one of your three favorite entries – if you haven’t signed in, clicking on vote will prompt you to create a new profile or sign in.
All finalists will receive an invitation to showcase their innovations at the Revelation to Action Celebration Event in Boston. The three finalists with the most votes will be selected as Competition Winners and announced at the event. Additionally, Green Mountain Coffee will select seven State Winners from each participating state. State winners will also be announced at the Celebration Event. The ten winners will also receive $5,000 to help fund their innovations.
“Hollaback! provides a platform where every women and girl is a changemaker in the movement to end street harassment. We’re ending street harassment, one Hollaback! at a time.” said Emily May, executive director of Hollaback!